The Next Big Thing

My friend and fellow poet Shazea Qureshi has introduced me to The Next Big Thing where I write about one of my books – my pamphlet poetry collection – The Bridle

Where did the idea come from for the book?
It sort of grew in the corner for a while, via a series of sidelong glances away from the poems. The poems were troublesome things, all about language and family, about being a fleshy mortal and female and how that feels, out in the world. But I didn’t realize that at first – that they were joining to each other in a kind of chain. It was only later, when I started getting impatient with myself for not publishing more in magazines, for failing to put together a decent, full-sized manuscript and failing even more to secure any publisher’s interest in one, that the idea for a pamphlet jumped out of that corner and said hello.

What genre does your book fall under?

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
My family would have to play themselves! Apart from that, I wouldn’t mind Fiona Shaw doing the audiobook. It’s always really interesting hearing someone else read your poem; it illuminates nooks and crannies you’d never noticed.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
Childhood, family, memory, myth — even the arguments and silences between lovers — all are enlisted in the bid to come to terms with our fleshy, mortal state.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
At least 3 years, though some of the poems started a long time before then. In one case, 10 years before.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Inspiration is a very big word. I’d say that my complicated relationship with my own body, and with being Wenglish (Welsh blood, English voice) were very definite goads, as was the relationship between my world and my gender.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? Erm…. I like to visit museums of anatomy and medicine. There’s a poem about a bra in it. I use some Welsh words. There are only 24 poems, so it’s not a marathon to read, more a brisk, pleasant walk….

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
It was published by Salt, in November 2011. (An agency? Do poets have agents?)

My writers for a week next Wednesday (well, next Wednesday is Boxing Day…) are:
Helen Mort
Helen Ivory
And let me tag Julia Bird again, who blogged about her Next Big Thing earlier this week.


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